On Thursday, the operator of the pipeline that leaked crude oil into the ocean last year near Huntington Beach announced that it had settled the lawsuits filed against it by tourism operators, fisherman, and other businesses in the area.
Class action lawsuit filed by businesses affected by the October spill of about 25,000 gallons (94,600 liters) of crude into the Pacific Ocean has been settled, according to a statement released by Amplify Energy Corp., the owner of the ruptured pipeline and the defendant in a criminal case related to its oversight.
The amount of the settlement, which still needs federal court approval, has not been disclosed, but the company has maintained that its insurance coverage will cover the expense.
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“Although we are unable to provide additional detail at this time, we negotiated in good faith and feel we have arrived to a reasonable and fair agreement,” said Amplify CEO Martyn Willsher.
After the pipeline broke, crude oil began washing up on the beaches of popular surfing destinations like Huntington Beach and others.
Although the spill was not as bad as first anticipated, it nonetheless forced the closure of beaches and fisheries for more than a month, oiled birds, and damaged wetlands that locals had been working to repair.
Lawyers for the firms that filed the lawsuit stated in a statement that their clients will get financial compensation as part of the settlement, but they did not elaborate. The agreement does not cover the ship owners who are suspected of dragging anchor in the harbor, causing pipeline damage months before the spill.
Both the Class Plaintiffs and the Amplify companies “expressly reserve” the right to continue pursuing claims against the ship-related entities.
Amplify, based in Houston, still has claims against a group that helps regulate maritime traffic, and those aren’t resolved by the settlement, either.
It is Amplify’s contention that two ships dragged their anchors over the pipeline transporting crude from offshore oil installations to the coast during a storm in January 2021.
There is also a criminal charge against Amplify because to the pipeline breach.
Amplify and two of its subsidiaries were charged with illegal oil discharge by U.S. prosecutors, who said the firms ignored eight alarms from its leak detection systems over the course of 13 hours. Amplify has stated that its employees thought the alerts were fake.